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'Absolute disgrace': RTÉ Gold listeners wrote to Dee Forbes expressing 'devastation' over station closure

That’s according to records released by RTÉ’s Freedom of Information unit.
Feb 20th 2020, 6:00 AM 48,187 31

LISTENERS TO RTÉ Gold told RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes that she must be “absolutely mad” to axe the digital radio service and called on her to review the decision.

Records released by RTÉ’s Freedom Of Information unit show that around 30 upset listeners of RTÉ Gold wrote to Forbes and the station to express their unhappiness over the decision last November to end RTÉ Gold as part of a series of cost cutting measures.

The station’s presenters include Rick O’Shea and Will Leahy – RTÉ Gold employed three people at the time of last November’s announcement.

The records show that one Co Cork listener said that they were “absolutely shocked and aghast” at the move to shutdown the service without any consultation.

The listener stated that as a daily commuter between Cork and Dublin, “RTÉ Gold in particular makes the commute more manageable and there are thousands like me”.

The listener stated that RTÉ Gold is played in numerous businesses and pointed out that “it is a niche station, but a growing one as the format is proving to be a winner especially since the presenters started putting a personality to the station and developing the brand”.

The listener stated that the station gives listeners a break from the depressive Brexit agenda and other problems affecting the country.

The listener stated that “some creative thinking and budgeting could rescue the Gold platform”.

Another listener told Forbes:

We were devastated to learn that you are planning to close RTÉ Gold. There must be something that we can do = crowdfunding, petitioning – you name it, we will be in. RTÉ Gold needs to be saved.

The listener stated that RTÉ Gold “is like comfort food for the soul, it makes everything better”.

Another “devastated” listener told Forbes “you have a jewel here and to close it for minuscule cost savings seems against everything that Public Service Broadcasting stands for”.

Another upset listener emailed Forbes to state that “I’m absolutely outraged, disgusted and words can’t begin to describe what Gold meant to me for the past ten years”.

The “Very Angry RTÉ Gold Listener’ stated that RTÉ Gold “was the light of my life and now the light has gone out of my life altogether”.

Another listener emailed RTÉ to state that the RTÉ Gold “was the only reason I paid the licence fee. What a waste”.

Another listener stated “I was shocked and disappointed to hear of the planned closure of RTÉ Gold”.

The listener stated: “I attend oncology services in one of the major Dublin’s hospitals and RTÉ Gold is played around the hospital in waiting rooms.

I can tell you that the people sitting listening to the station really appreciate the calmness and easygoing atmosphere it can create, even in a stressful space.

A Co Westmeath listener described the decision to close RTÉ Gold and Lyric FM as an “absolute disgrace”.

The listener stated: “Management should remember the people who listen to these services – people of my age who always pay their TV licence without question or complaint.

“How are we treated for this loyalty? With copious quantities of bullshit programming such as ‘Pulling with my Parents’, Francis Brennan’s various adventures and all kinds of so-called reality nonsense not to mention repeats to beat the band. First Dates! Drop it please. I could go on and on.”

The listener stated: “Cop on and make a proper effort to resolve your financial difficulties with(out) dumping the family jewels.”

A spokesman for RTÉ stated today: “As outlined in RTÉ’s revised strategy published in November, RTÉ’s digital radio services will close this year. No date has been set for closure of these services.”

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Gordon Deegan

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